NIST guides civilian infosec buys
- By Diane Frank
- Sep 12, 2000
NIST Special Publication 800-23 (PDF)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology late last week released
its final guidelines on civilian agency procurement of information security
Under the new guidelines, NIST Special Publication 800-23, NIST recommends
that agencies acquire security products that have undergone independent
testing and evaluation.
"Federal agencies should give substantial consideration in IT procurement
and deployment for IT products that have been evaluated and tested by independent
accredited laboratories against appropriate security specifications and
requirements," the guide states.
The main type of testing recommended by the publication is the international
Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Program, overseen in the United
States by the National Information Assurance Partnership under NIST and
the National Security Agency.
Using the Common Criteria Cvaluation, agencies can be assured that the security
products will perform the way a vendor promises. The products are tested
by private-sector laboratories accredited by the NIAP.
NIST cautions, however, that agencies still need to make sure a security
product fits into their overall architecture and needs because a Common
Criteria-tested product may not be the best security product for an agency
"It is important to note that purchasing an evaluated product just because
it is evaluated, and without due consideration of applicable functional
and assurance requirements, may be neither useful nor cost-effective," the